Yesterday, the Maryland Senate by a vote of 36-10 passed HB104, Medical Cannabis - Written Certifications - Certifying Providers on the last day of the legislative session. If Governor Larry Hogan (R) signs the legislation as expected, it will allow dentists, podiatrists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners in addition to physicians to provide written certifications for medical cannabis to qualifying patients. These additional medical providers must have an active, unrestricted license, be in good standing with their respective board, and have a State controlled dangerous substances (CDS) registration in order to qualify as a provider. Based on information provided by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services , there are 40,048 health care providers that had active CDS registrations in 2015, and this legislation will enable many of those providers to utilize cannabis treatment in their practices, as well as provide more options for patients seeking certification.
Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, praised the Maryland General Assembly for the bill's passage stating, "I am pleased to see the Maryland legislature recognizing that medical cannabis therapies should be an option for all medical professionals in treating their patients."
The bill, introduced by Delegate Dan Morhaim (D), the General Assembly's only physician was approved by the House in a 110-21 vote in February and received bipartisan support as well as support from the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Maryland joins at least two other states that have a more inclusive approach to the types of licensed health care providers who can make written recommendations under their state's medical cannabis program.